Increasing Our Faith in Christ’s Divinity
Our Sunday Gospel readings throughout this month of August are taken from the Book of Matthew and feature a succession of stories that reveal the divinity of Christ and the power of faith in the lives of His followers. These readings begin with the Transfiguration on August 6th and culminate on August 27th with Christ declaring Peter the Rock upon which He would build His Church.
In between these two monumental moments, we have the reading on August 13th in which Christ walks on water—and August 20th presents the Gospel where Christ answers the prayers of a Canaanite woman imploring Him to heal her daughter. In that scene, Jesus at first refuses the woman’s request, declaring, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she persists in her supplications and finally He relents, saying, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.”
This beautiful scene demonstrates how Jesus wants us to follow in His footsteps by persevering in faith amid the trials of life. The importance of faith is a recurring theme throughout August’s Gospel readings. When Jesus walks on water, Peter’s faith prompts him to join in this miraculous feat by first asking Jesus to summon him and then walking out onto the water with Him. It is only when Peter’s faith falters that he begins to sink.
Peter’s faith is also at the center of the scene in which Christ declares him to be the Rock. After asking the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” it is Simon Peter who speaks up, saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It is at this point Jesus says, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.”
We see here that Christ founded His church on a man with faith in His divinity, and it is this kind of faith that we are all called to cultivate within our hearts. Peter’s faith was not perfect, and we see it falter at times, such as when he joins Christ in walking on water but then begins to sink. But even in this moment when Peter’s faith falters, Jesus takes his hand and lifts him up. So, our faith in Christ’s divinity must also assure us that He will rescue us when we falter.
Christ’s divinity is made plain for all to see throughout the Gospels and in the entirety of the message of salvation. The Transfiguration is an important scene that helps to reveal this reality. What a beautiful thing it must have been to witness for Peter, James, and John, who were present for this miraculous event when Christ’s “face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light,” and Moses and Elijah appeared beside Him, and the voice of God declared from the heavens, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.”
These words of God—heard by Peter, James, and John and passed down to us in the Gospels—should seem as relevant to us today as though we had been standing there when they were spoken. Responding to this call, let us challenge ourselves to believe more fully in the divinity of Christ, because it is in that belief that we will find the faith to take up our cross and follow Him.